Friday, August 21, 2009

For December: Amulet by Roberto Bolano

For December, we have chosen Roberto Bolano's Amulet:
Amulet embodies in one woman's breathtaking voice the melancholy and violent recent history of Latin America. It begins: "This is going to be a horror story."

The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan woman in Mexico City in the 1960s, who becomes the "Mother of Mexican Poetry." Tall, thin, and blonde, she is famous as the sole person who resists the army's invasion of the university campus: she hides in a ladies' room for twelve days. As she waits out the occupiers, with nothing to eat, Auxilio recalls her adventures in exile, and talks about two elderly exiled lions of Spanish poetry, three remarkable women, and her favorite young poet, Arturo Belano (Bolaño's fictional stand-in throughout his books). Her stories refract light and Auxilio is soon in strange landscapes: in "the dark night of the soul of Mexico City," in ice-bound mountainsides, in a bathroom where moonlight shines, moving slowly from tile to tile, and in a terrifying chasm. Amulet keenly demonstrates, as The Los Angeles Times noted, that "Bolaño is by far the most exciting writer to have come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rights Readers Round-up

The Complete PersepolisRights Readers authors have been busy this summer:

Iran continues to be a major topic of commentary: check out Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) in the NYT: I Must Go Home to Iran Again. Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) calls for freeing filmmaker Maziar Bahari (more from AIUSA and action) Message to Tehran: Let our truth-teller go. Stephen Kinzer (Crescent and Star) is optimistic Iran and U.S. 'not fated to be enemies forever' and offers some advice to Obama on a shared birthday.

On the home front, Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) has three NYT editorials with audio supplement on the how the recession has hit the "already poor," here, here and here, while Hector Tobar (The Tattooed Soldier) has another insightful column on immigration. Walter Mosley (Little Scarlet) offers 10 Things You Need to Know to Live on the Streets, and has an opinion piece in Newseek: America's Obsession with Crime which he also discusses on NPR.

Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains) pays tribute to a local hero he met while writing his latest book (Strength in What Remains) in the NYT: A Death in Burundi. Edwidge Danticat (Brother, I'm Dying) writes an appreciation of Nobelist Wole Soyinka for the Progressive.

Mark Hertsgaard
(Earth Odyssey) reports from Burkina Faso on climate change and appears on a panel on food security and climate change. Hertsgaard is preparing a book on the subject, certainly a good candidate for a Rights Read. Kevin Bales (Disposable People) is interviewed about his latest book, The Slave Next Door.

As follow up to our discussion of Caroline Elkins, (Imperial Reckoning), check out the Times (London) coverage of efforts by Mau Mau veterans to investigate torture claims, here and here with analysis here and here. Speaking of Kenya, Michela Wrong (I Didn't Do It for You) can be found promoting her new book, It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower at openDemocracy (see also interviews with NPR and NYT.) Her pr strategy has some interesting twists.

Muhammad Yunus (Banker To The Poor) was one of the luminaries who received a presidential medal of freedom. Paul Farmer (Mountains Beyond Mountains) will not be heading USAID, but Samantha Power (A Problem from Hell) has been appointed by President Obama to assist refugees of Iraq war. And did you know that in a nod to the late Russian journalists Anna Politkovskaya (Putin's Russia) and her brave colleagues, President Obama gave an interview in Novaya Gazeta on his recent Moscow visit? More from CPJ. Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) has some post-papal audience questions for Obama (and the activist community). Meanwhile Jarvis Jay Masters' (Finding Freedom) latest, That Bird Has My Wings is available for amazon pre-order.

Okay, so I should probably post a little more often so as not to make this such a huge link dump... but at least I'm caught up!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our August Author: Zoe Ferraris

Finding NoufZoe Ferraris, author of Finding Nouf, a mystery set in Saudi Arabia, has her own website where you should be sure to check out the Q&A. She also has a blog, Pilgrimage, that will probably get more interesting when she has more than one post (although that first one is pretty good). Matt Beynon Rees (a possible future Rights Readers author) has an interview focusing mostly on the writing and publishing process while KUCI has a good audio interview.

For a little of the Saudi atmosphere, check out this National Geograhic photo gallery .

For human rights background, here is Amnesty International's Saudi Arabia page with additional commentary on the Human Rights Now blog. Even more on topic, check out this Human Rights Watch report: Saudi Arabia: Male Guardianship Policies Harm Women.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...